Steven Levy tells the Apple Green Data Center Story

Green Data Centers are accepted in the data center industry, and the three who have the mindshare are Apple, Google, and Facebook.  Steven Levy has told the Google story many times, and Facebook.  With this lengthy post Steven tells the Apple Green Data Center story.

Apple Tries to Clean Up Its Carbon-Spewing Ways With New Data Centers

Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president for environmental initiatives, gives a tour at the company's solar field in Yerington, NV. Photo: David Calvert/WIRED

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, gives a tour at the company’s solar field in Yerington, NV. Photo: David Calvert/WIRED

On a stunning cloudless day in the Nevada desert, Lisa Jackson stands with her back to an array of advanced solar cells, peering across a low chain link fence at NV Energy’s Fort Churchill Power Generating plant just a few hundred yards away. The 1960s vintage facility has two giant boilers rising from the scrub brush, belching steam and god knows what else. It couldn’t be more different than the futuristic tract where Jackson is standing, with its gleaming rows of curved mirrors and palm-size silicon wafers silently drawing energy from the blinding sun. It’s like a contrast between a phone booth and an iPhone.

The post is long and the most interesting part is at the end.

Since this wasn’t my first data center, I was able to contrast Apple’s with the competition’s. In many ways, a data center is just a data center, a bunch of computers you only get to see if you endure multiple retina scans to open up the doors. Yet there are subtle hints that this is an Apple facility, even if Jony Ive didn’t draw up the plans. The outside of the administration building has some sweet design elements, like decorative strips of terra cotta paneling in three shades of red, giving it a feeling of a desert lodge. The halls are festooned with huge, neatly hung photographs of tiny details iPhones and other Apple devices. Even the computer rooms seem to have an Apple vibe—they’re not so industrial. The doors to the hot aisle have frosted glass, like lavatory doors at a hip restaurant. The air-cooled facility is relatively quiet; unlike some other data centers, no earplugs required. You get the feeling you could probably eat off the server floor.